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Cochise Stronghold & Wilderness Designation
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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Jul 19, 2014
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Kali. Alabama Hills, CA.
JB7 wrote:
I guess the only thing that bothers me about the wilderness designation is the uncertainty, and current lack of a definitive management policies/plan.

My thoughts exactly..... once the place becomes "wilderness" we, climbers, will most likely loose out on what we have.

Its not about bolts, its about access. Once wilderness-all sorts of "stupid" new rules
will be enacted.

Things like "no more than 30 people per day will allowed in- we will hold a lottery to select the lucky 30.... one year in advance".... that is typical FEDERAL rule making.

I do always shake my head at the idea of making a place "WILDERNESS" when in fact it is not, like Josh Tree.... 100 feet from a road is the wilderness.

Its just a power grab by the FEDS, nothing more.

I hope the good citizens of Arizona say NO.

By manuel rangel
From Tempe, Arizona
Jul 20, 2014
I agree with you Guy, but you should take action and email the Coronado Forest supervisor to let him know that you are one of the many climbers that wants to keep it open as it is.

If you need the link: accessfund.org/c.tmL5KhNWLrH/b...

The Wilderness designation has been made popular by the many votes that poured in from the Wilderness Society. Let's join the fray amigo.

By cochiseclimbing
Jul 20, 2014
My favorite place
"There are only four land use zones on the Coronado National Forest: wild backcountry, roaded backcountry, developed recreation, and motorized recreation." Wilderness designation is a federal designation that needs to be passed by congress. It is law, no changes. The designation determines how the land will be managed.

The Forest Service handles the management of Wilderness areas. The forest service manual is currently be re-written and will include how they manage climbing in Wilderness areas. The impression of the Access Fund is that restrictions on climbers will be tightening beyond the prohibited use of power drills. Drills are no longer the issue.

How do you feel about the new application process and fee required to just start thinking about putting up a new route at Bubbs Creek Wall 14 miles in the backcountry? Please see the new Kings Canyon Sequoia Management plan.

There are lots of "personal" assumptions about how the Forest Service handles climbing areas across the country.

We all want to preserve the environment and protect the Stronghold from development. Especially, major issues like mining, logging, OHV travel. The land use designation of wild backcountry does that without the restrictions on the single biggest user group- climbers. The proposed wilderness map area is a very "cherry stemmed" central area created to qualify for designation. Meaning the proposed area selectively eliminates private land sections (there are private homes 0.1 miles from the proposed wilderness border), and current roads but really does not protect areas that are currently experiencing high use and seeing the highest environmental changes. It will not reduce the horse camps that are expanding on the west side or the amount of OHV traffic.

My greatest fear is the future of climbing in 20 years if the forest service supervisor, at the time, decides that there will be no fixed hardware in the Stronghold. That means no "Days of Future Past" or "Isle of You". **Fixed hardware, regardless of the climbs "style", would be seem the same in the eyes of Wilderness law.** This also means no anchor replacements as they age. The nature of the rock in the Stronghold (Domes) mostly requires fixed hardware at some point or to get off.

Please see the trial S. McNamara listed above //"At trial Coronado took the position any fixed anchors anywhere in the Coronado are illegal. In other words, if they had won that case and this became their position then, it would have spelled the end of any legal fixed anchors anywhere in S. Arizona. "//
  • *This was not even in Wilderness. It would have been the end of fixed hardware.**

This may seem extreme and alarmist, but please see the examples below that prove it is happening across the country.

Most of us will not be climbing in 20 years but please allow future generations to experience the same adventures we do today. Regardless of the "style" you climb, we have all clipped fixed hardware. Please remember, parts of Mt Lemmon, or maybe even your local crag, are in wilderness already, things could change there, this is not just about the Stronghold. What we do as a climbing community at this time will also influence how our voice will be heard in the future, lets be smart, please take action.

"An article by Alpinist on 6/10/2010 stated that “[The National Park Service plan for Christmas Tree Pass] would be the first to not only ban, but also require the removal of fixed anchors.” –alpinist.com/doc/web10s/newswi...

A notice by the National Park Service on 01/21/2014 “Regarding rock climbing management for alternatives B and C in the Draft Wilderness Management Plan/EIS [in Lake Mead National Recreation Area]... In Bridge Canyon Wilderness no new fixed anchors or fixed equipment would be permitted, with the exception of permitted replacement anchors.” –federalregister.gov/articles/2...

The Mt. Charleston Wilderness Management Plan stated in January of 2013 that “In the Proposed Action, new fixed anchor routes would be prohibited by both the FS and the BLM and the replacement of permanent fixed anchors on existing routes would be evaluated for their appropriateness in Wilderness through a special use permit process.”…” Current recreational activities that involve rock climbing would continue in Mt. Charleston Wilderness; however, there is not expected to be an increase in future “sport climbing” activities, which would be curbed due to the prohibition on new “fixed anchor routes.”” –docs.google.com/file/d/0B7-K8P...

There is a precedent of a misinterpretation of federal regulation in wilderness areas. Here is part of an Access Fund response to the North Cascades National Park fixed anchor (bolt) moratorium “The Access Fund is concerned that the North Cascades National Park fixed anchor (bolt) moratorium is incongruous with national policy, based on misinterpretation of federal regulation, unnecessarily compromises wilderness climber safety, and negatively affects wilderness use-patterns. We believe that some level of fixed anchor (bolt) use must be allowed wherever climbing is allowed, and that the appropriate level of use should be established on an area-by-area basis.” docs.google.com/file/d/0B7-K8P...


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